Baldwin City child chosen as state finalist for pageant
Sariah Judy’s 5-year-old daughter, Lillian, is a state finalist in the National American Miss Pageant, and Judy always makes sure to clarify to people what type of pageant her daughter is in.
“They base it on the girls’ personality, if she’s comfortable being in front of a crowd of people,” Judy said. “And this pageant is totally not like what you see on TV.”
No makeup is allowed for any participants under the age of 13, all clothes must be age appropriate and it is not based on the contestant’s beauty.
Judy said it teaches the girls good interview skills and community service. Lillian has to collect stuffed animals and books as part of the pageant.
“I think it’s great for self-esteem,” Judy said. “Even though they’re young, you know she’s only 5, and I still think at this age it’s such a great idea to let them know that they’re not only beautiful on the outside but they’re beautiful on the inside.”
Lillian has participated in several pageants before, with her first pageant being the Maple Leaf Pageant in Baldwin City a few years ago. The National American Miss Pageant was by invitation only to an open call, where the contestants had to complete an interview. Only about half of the contestants were selected as state finalists in the Princess division, which is for 4 and 5 year olds. The state finalists will participate July 15-17 in Wichita to go to the national competition in California.
“(Lillian) was very excited,” Judy said. “She loves being in front of people. She always has.”
At the pageant, the contestants will perform a dance on stage, and Lillian will take part in several categories. She will be in the photogenic category, where a photo of the contestant is submitted; beachwear, without the use of swimsuits; and a formalwear section, where Lillian’s father will escort her on stage.
“We actually wouldn’t have done it had it been one of the other pageants. When she did her very first one, (which) was the Maple Leaf pageant a few years ago and it was, you know, very simple,” Judy said. “You know, obviously nothing crazy, no makeup, nothing like that. And so that’s how we got started in the pageants and those are the only ones I will allow her to do.”
Judy said her daughter loves doing the pageants, and as long as she does, they would continue to participate in them. But the choice for Lillian to continue with pageants in the future is up to her.
For now, Judy believes the lessons Lillian is learning in this pageant will be beneficial in her future.
“I think it will help her as she gets older not be shy or insecure, but be able to speak in front of people,” Judy said. “She has to speak in front of an entire audience, so I think it will only benefit her and will also show her she doesn’t need all that makeup and the fake hair and the fake teeth and the craziness to be beautiful.”